Southeastern NEWS Southeastern Louisiana University Public Information Office firstname.lastname@example.org SLU 10880, Hammond, LA 70402 985/549-2341/fax 985-549-2061 Date: 11/9/01 Contact: Christina Chapple 24 JOHNNY DO: SOUTHEASTERN SPEAKER DESCRIBES "GREAT ESCAPE" FROM VIETNAM By KORNELIJA JUSKAITE HAMMOND -- Johnny Do, a Vietnamese refugee, was one of more than 75 guest speakers to visit Southeastern Louisiana University during its annual Business and Technology Week. On Tuesday, October 30, Do spoke to students in Richard David Ramsey's Administrative Communication Theory class about his business in Louisiana. Do, a captain of "Little Danny," a shrimp boat, said that, even though there is a lot of hard work involved, the profit in this business is usually very good, as much as $300 a day. He also told the students about how to start their own shrimping business. His talk was co-hosted by Southeastern's Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Program. Do's most painful story was about the war against the Communists in Vietnam. Do, who's code name during the war was "Black Dragon," shared his memories about harrowing battles and his survival in the Vietnamese jungles by catching rats for food after the war was over. Do narrowly escaped being executed after the Communist takeover, and he worked for some time in the prison to which he was assigned. Do escaped from the prison and, after several months as a fugitive, escaped Vietnam altogether in 1981 on a little boat with 99 other people. The boat was designed to look like a fresh-water fishing boat to fool the Communist authorities; for once underway it could be compartmentalized and buttressed for travel on the open sea. He also took some dirt in a jar with him. "I wanted to bring my land to freedom," he said. His boat of refugees was found on the high seas by a Dutch merchant marine ship, which took Do and his fellow refugees to Singapore. Do had to sink his fishing boat before boarding the Dutch vessel and at that time made a symbolic decision to send the jar of dirt to the bottom of the sea with the fishing boat. Later, he came to the United States, where he continued in the fishing business and also in the military by joining the 415th Military Intelligence Battalion of the Louisiana Army National Guard, where he serves as a Vietnamese linguist. Nhu Quynh Pham, a French student whose parents came from Vietnam, said that Do's story touched her. One day, she said, she hopes to visit Vietnam. -30- Send e-mail to email@example.com to comment on this article.